“Christ is the sun; the individual words of God are His rays” by Herman Bavinck

“Finally the designation ‘word of God’ is used for Christ Himself. He is the Logos in an utterly unique sense: Revealer and revelation at the same time.

All the revelations and words of God, in nature and history, in creation and re-creation, both in the Old and the New Testament, have their ground, unity, and center in Him.

He is the sun; the individual words of God are His rays.

The word of God in nature, in Israel, in the NT, in Scripture may never even for a moment be separated and abstracted from him. God’s revelation exists only because He is the Logos.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena (Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend; vol. 1; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 1: 402.

[HT: Nick Gardner]

“What we sow on earth is harvested in eternity” by Herman Bavinck

“The final rest of God’s children is not to be conceived as inaction; His children remain His servants, who joyfully and in diverse ways serve Him night and day.

What we sow on earth is harvested in eternity; diversity is not destroyed in eternity but cleansed from sin and made serviceable to fellowship with God and others. Scripture even teaches degrees of glory in the future kingdom, commensurate with one’s works.

The blessedness of salvation is the same for all, but there are distinctions in glory. This distinction is not merited by good works but comes through a sovereign, free, and gracious covenantal disposition of God—a given right to believers merited by Christ.

God thus crowns His own work in order that in such active diversity the glory of His own attributes shines out. All creatures will then live and move and have their being in God, who is all in all, who reflects all of His attributes in the mirror of His works and glorifies Himself in them.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation (Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend; vol. 4; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 4: 715.

“He is unchangeable in His grace” by Herman Bavinck

“He is who He is, the same yesterday, today, and forever. This meaning is further explained in Exodus 3:15: YHWH—the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—sends Moses, and that is His name forever.

God does not simply call Himself “the One who is” and offer no explanation of His aseity, but states expressly what and how He is.

Then how and what will He be? That is not something one can say in a word or describe in an additional phrase, but “He will be what He will be.”

That sums up everything. This addition is still general and indefinite, but for that reason also rich and full of deep meaning.

He will be what He was for the patriarchs, what He is now and will remain: He will be everything to and for His people.

It is not a new and strange God who comes to them by Moses, but the God of the fathers, the Unchangeable One, the Faithful One, the eternally Self-consistent One, who never leaves or forsakes His people but always again seeks out and saves His own.

He is unchangeable in His grace, in His love, in His assistance, who will be what He is because He is always Himself.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, Vol. 2 (Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 2: 143.

“He is unchangeably the same eternal God” by Herman Bavinck

“As living, thinking beings in time, we stand before the mystery of eternal uncreated being and marvel.

On the one hand, it is certain that God is the Eternal One: in Him there is neither past or future, neither becoming or change.

All that He is is eternal: His thought, His will, His decree.

Eternal in Him is the idea of the world that He thinks and utters in the Son; eternal in Him is also the decision to create the world; eternal in Him is the will that created the world in time; eternal is also the act of creating as an act of God, an action both internal and immanent.

For God did not become Creator, so that first for a long time He did not create and then afterward He did create.

Rather, He is the eternal Creator, and as Creator He was the Eternal One, and as the Eternal One He created. The creation therefore brought about no change in God; it did not emanate from Him and is no part of His being.

He is unchangeably the same eternal God.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, Vol. 2 (Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 429.

“Our heart is restless until it rests in You” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“In Yourself You arouse us, giving us delight in glorifying You, because You made us with Yourself as our goal, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”

–Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, trans. Sarah Ruden (New York: Modern Library, 2017), 3.

“I asked the whole huge universe about my God, and it answered me” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“What is it that I love?

I asked the earth, and it said, ‘It’s not me,’ and everything in it admitted the same thing.

I asked the sea and the great chasms of the deep, and the creeping things that have the breath of life in them, and they answered, ‘We aren’t your God: search above us.’

I asked the gusty winds, and all the atmosphere there is, along with its inhabitants, said, ‘I’m not God.’

I asked the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, and they said, “We’re not the God you’re looking for, either.”

I told all those beings who stand around outside my body’s gates, its senses, ‘Tell me about my God. You aren’t Him, but tell me something about Him.’ And they declared with a shout, ‘He made us!’

My question was the act of focusing on them, and their response was their beauty.

But then I turned myself toward myself and asked myself, ‘Who are you?’ and I answered, ‘A human being.’ Here at my service were my body and my soul, the one of which is outward, the other inward.

Which was the one I should use to seek my God– whom I’d already sought through material objects from the earth clear up to the sky, as far as I could send the message-bearing rays of my eyesight?

The soul within is certainly better for informing me, as all the messengers that are material objects relay to it their news, and it presides and judges the depositions of the sky and the earth and everything in them that says ‘We are not God,’ and ‘God made us.’

The inside person has found this out through the help of the outside person; my inside self found this out– I did, it was me, my mind working through my physical perception.

I asked the whole huge universe about my God, and it answered me, ‘I am not God, but God made me.'”

–Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, trans. Sarah Ruden (New York: Modern Library, 2017), 284-284.

“You struck my heart to the core with Your Word, and I fell in love with You” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“It isn’t with a wavering but with a sure awareness that I love You, Master. You struck my heart to the core with Your Word, and I fell in love with You.

But the sky, too, and the earth, and everything that’s in them–look, from all directions everything is telling me to love You, and never stops telling all people, so that they have no excuse.

But deeper is the mercy You will grant to whomever You grant Your mercy, and the tenderheartedness You will show anyone to whom You’re tenderhearted. Otherwise, the sky and the earth could speak Your praises, but we would be deaf.

But what do I love, in loving You? It’s not the beauty of material things, or any attractiveness of this time-bound world, not the pale gleam of the light, this light here which is so friendly to these physical eyes of mine.

And it’s not the sweet melodies of every sort, and not the agreeable aromas of flowers and perfumes and spices, and not manna or honey on the tongue, and not a body welcome in a physical embrace.

I don’t love these things in loving my God.

But I do love a certain light, and a certain voice, and a certain fragrance, and a certain food, and a certain embrace in loving my God: this is the light, the voice, the fragrance, the food, the embrace of the person I am within, where something that space does not contain radiates, and something sounds that time doesn’t snatch away, and something sheds a fragrance that the wind doesn’t scatter, and something has a flavor that gluttony doesn’t diminish, and something clings that the full indulgence of desire doesn’t sunder.

This is what I love in loving my God.”

–Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, trans. Sarah Ruden (New York: Modern Library, 2017), 281-282.

“He gives rain on the earth” by John Piper

“‘God does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth.’ (Job 5:8-10) In Job’s mind rain really is one of the great, unsearchable wonders that God does. So when I read this a few weeks ago, I resolved not to treat it as meaningless pop musical lyrics. I decided to have a conversation with myself (which is what I mean by meditation).

Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come from another source on the fields. From where?

Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea over several hundred miles, and then be poured out on the fields from the sky. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 2,323,200 cubic feet of water, which is 17,377,536 gallons, which is 144,735,360 pounds of water.

That’s heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it’s so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That’s a nice word. What’s it mean? It means that the water stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What’s that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That’s small.

What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is saltwater. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up millions of pounds of water from the sea, takes out the salt, carries the water (or whatever it is, when it is not water) for three hundred miles, and then dumps it (now turned into water again) on the farm?

Well, it doesn’t dump it. If it dumped millions of pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the millions of pounds of water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.

How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh millions of pounds get heavy enough to fall (if that’s the way to ask the question)? Well, it’s called coalescence. What’s that? It means the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger, and when they are big enough, they fall.

Just like that? Well, not exactly, because they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up if there were no electric field present. What? Never mind. Take my word for it.

I think, instead, I will just take Job’s word for it.”

–John Piper, Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2005), 24–26.

“The riddles of God” by G.K. Chesterton

“In dealing with the arrogant asserter of doubt, the right method is to tell him to go on doubting, to doubt a little more, to doubt every day newer and wilder things in the universe, until at last, by some strange enlightenment, he may begin to doubt himself.

This, I say, is the first fact touching the speech (i.e. Job 38-42); the fine inspiration by which God comes in at the end, not to answer riddles, but to propound them. The other great fact which, taken together with this one, makes the world work religious instead of merely philosophical, is that other great surprise which makes Job suddenly satisfied with the mere presentation of something impenetrable.

Verbally speaking the enigmas of Jehovah seem darker and more desolate than the enigmas of Job; yet Job was comfortless before the speech of Jehovah and is comforted after it. He has been told nothing, but feels the terrible and tingling atmosphere of something which is too good to be told.

The refusal of God to explain His design is itself a burning hint of His design. The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”

–G.K. Chesterton, “The Book of Job,” in On Lying in Bed and Other Essays, Ed. Alberto Manguel (Calgary: Bayeux Arts, 2000), 176.

“A freshness of vision” by John Piper

“One of the tragedies of growing up is that we get used to things. It has its good side of course, since irritations may cease to be irritations.

But there is immense loss when we get used to the redness of the rising sun,

and the roundness of the moon,

and the whiteness of the snow,

the wetness of rain,

the blueness of the sky,

the buzzing of bumble bees,

the stitching of crickets,

the invisibility of wind,

the unconscious constancy of heart and diaphragm,

the weirdness of noses and ears,

the number of the grains of sand on a thousand beaches,

the never-ceasing crash crash crash of countless waves,

and ten million kingly-clad flowers flourishing and withering in woods and mountain valleys where no one sees but God.

I invite you, with Clyde Kilby, to seek a ‘freshness of vision,’ to look, as though it were the first time, not at the empty product of accumulated millennia of aimless evolutionary accidents (which no child ever dreamed of), but at the personal handiwork of an infinitely strong, creative, and exuberant Artist who made the earth and the sea and everything in them.

I invite you to believe (like the children believe) ‘that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course you shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the Architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega’ (note 11, resolution 10).”

–John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God (Portland, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1991), 95-96.